Directly in the title of the fourth and final installment of a series on autism which has been by turns both predictably biased and reasonably informative, the LA Times last Friday ventured to print with a startling new assertion:
“What happened to all the people who never got diagnosed? Where are they?” the article asks, later continuing, “Evidence suggests the vast majority are not segregated from society — they are hiding in plain sight. Most will probably never be identified, but a picture of their lives is starting to emerge from those who have been.”
Groundbreaking news? Certainly in some quarters, and props to the Times for bringing it to them. Longtime readers of Shift Journal however may have a nagging sense that they’ve seen that language, somewhere … already.
… thinking here was a writer capable of bringing attention to the under-the-radar autism we had found to be hidden in plain sight.
— Reverse Van Winkle, 11/27/09
Pandemic autism that’s hidden in plain sight, an autistic spectrum populated overwhelmingly by undiagnosed fellow travelers and autistics-in-hiding—if this is an accurate description of autism’s full spectrum, then where are all these supposed autistics?
— Covert Ops in Autistic Self-Advocacy, 2/19/10
Autism has been here all along.
Considered as an evolutionary condition with far-reaching social implications, its full presence and impact remain hidden in plain sight, unrecognized and uncredited.
— Shift Journal sidebar, rewritten 3/27/10
My premise all along – as reflected in the sidebar as well as many earlier entries – has been that autism is far-reaching in its social implications, and that its full presence and impact remain hidden in plain sight, unrecognized and uncredited. I mean this in both of the senses I’ve just described, in terms of the role autism may have played in cultural innovation throughout history, pre-history, and evolutionary time, and also in terms of the present-day spectrum and contemporary culture.
— The Autisitc Cohort as a Distributed System, 1/21/11
But then this is how most humans react – with denial – apparently, when that which has been “hidden” in plain sight all over the land suddenly shows up in the neighbor’s backyard, or in polite conversation – or on the teevy news shows.
Whatever the answer, it’s a question I come back to over and over. Whether I happen to be chasing phantoms just at the moment or not, the notion of everyday autism everywhere, hidden in plain sight, consistently overlooked and misidentified, is one that’s haunted me for over a decade now.
— If Not Us, Then Who? 2/11/11
That said, the ideas that drive me to be involved here are that there is a huge undercurrent of autism in modern society, that there is no meaningful dividing line between diagnosed autistics and the rest of us, that autism is such a significant part of who we are as a society and as a species that we would not recognize ourselves without it — and that all of this is hidden in plain sight, visible only for those who have eyes to see.
— Waiting for the Fireworks, 3/18/11
Shift. Journal of Alternatives: Neurodiversity and social change. Autism views before they’re news, since 2009.
While the above is presented (mostly) tongue-in-cheek, readers interested in an actual in-depth, ahead-of-our times, book-length theory describing autism’s place in human society and evolution are invited to download or purchase site founder Andrew Lehman’s Evolution, Autism, and Social Change.
[image via Wikimedia Commons]